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Social Business Entrepreneurs Are the Solution

Muhammad Yunus, 2006

Paper presented at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship,
Said Business School, Oxford University
March 29 - 31, 2006

I think things are going wrong not because of "market failure." It is much deeper than that. Let us be brave and admit that it is because of "conceptualization failure." More specifically, it is the failure to capture the essence of a human being in our theory.

Everyday human beings are not one-dimensional entities they are excitingly multi-dimensional and indeed very colourful. Their emotions, beliefs, priorities, behaviour patterns vary so much that they can be more aptly described by drawing an analogy with producing millions of colours and shades by mixing three basic colours in varying proportions.

I am arguing that no harm is done to the free market if all businesses are not profit maximization entities. By asserting that businesses by their very nature must be of only one kind, profit maximization kind, and by practicing it as an axiom, we have created a world where social problems remain unaddressed. Some times these problems are partially addressed by philanthropy, or left to be addressed by governments.

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